8 Execution site(s)
Yosif R. answers the question: "YIU : Were they passenger trains or freight trains?
Y: They were freight trains with two cabooses. There were little windows in the ceiling so they could breathe a little. And they also used these windows to flee from the train. The doors were closed. There were guards in a passenger wagon near the locomotive, in the middle and at the rear of the train. Those who were aware about what was going to happen jumped out of the train. The guards shot at them, creating a cross-fire, but a lot managed to escape." (Witness N°438, interviewed in Rava-Ruska, on March 26, 2007)
"From the beginning of the German occupation of Rava-Ruska city, the ghetto for the Jewish population was created. Several houses in the city center, around the market district, were fenced in with barbered wire. Later, the Jewish inhabitants of Rava-Ruska were asked to move into the area chosen for the ghetto. Moreover, the Germans started to bring Jews from different districts to Rava-Ruska. That’s how about 17,000 people [Jews] of different ages, children and adults, were concentrated in Rava-Ruska. In November 1942, the Germans started slaughtering the Jews living in Rava-Ruska." [Deposition of Mikhail Ts., born in 1903, a factory worker, who eyewitnesses the mass shooting, made on September 26, 1944,RG-22.002M.7021-67/68]
“A blood bath took place on June 1, 1943, in which 10,000 people died. Some were brought somewhere else? The next day, on our way back home from work, we saw many female, male and child bodies in a pool of blood. The Germans murdered all the Jews in different ways.” [Deposition of Emile L., a French survivor from the camp, B162-949]
Rava-Ruska, found in the 17th century, is located about 50 kilometers (31 miles) northwest of Lviv. Before the Second World War slightly more than half of the population – at least 7,000 people – was Jewish. Poles accounted for approximately one-third of the population. Ukrainians made up about 15%. The majority of the Jews worked in wholesale and retail trade and as craftsmen. Only a small share of the Jewish population was active in the free professions (lawyers, doctors, etc.). German forces occupied Rava-Ruska in late June 1941. During the occupation the Germans created a big concentration camp where Soviet and French prisoners were detained as well as Jewish labor camp located 37 kilometers (23 miles) east of Rava-Ruska, in Velyki Mosty.
The anti- Jewish Aktions in Rava-Ruska were carried out by the squad of Security Police from Sokal, with the assistance of the German Gendarmerie and Ukrainian policemen. In early July 1941, more than 100 Jews were arrested and shot as alleged Communists.The first Aktion took place on March 19, 1942, when approximately 1,000 Jews were arrested and deported to Bełzec. In late July 1942, a second Aktion was carried out. During this Aktion another 2,000 Jews were deported to Bełzec. During the liquidation Aktion, wich took place on December 7– 11, 1942 at least 5,000 Jews were shot on the spot, 2,500 were deported to Bełzec in four trains. The remaining 1,200-1,500 Jews, including those who were transferred from the Velyki Mosty labor camp in May 1943, were shot around June 8–10, 1943. They were shot in a mass grave in the forest near the village of Borove.
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